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The Difference Between Personal Injury and Workers Comp

Workplace injuries happen frequently. While many of them are minor, occasionally a more serious accident or injury will occur that leaves an employee understandably concerned about how they’re going to cover medical cost as well as compensation for any time off work. In cases where it’s thought that the employer’s negligence is to blame, it’s also common to wonder if you can sue for additional damages.

Most people are familiar with the concept of worker’s compensation that is designed to cover expenses for an employee who has been injured at work. You might also have heard of personal injury claims and wonder how the two differ from a legal standpoint. If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, here is what you need to know about the differences between the two.

Understanding Workers Compensation

With few exceptions, most businesses are required to carry workers compensation insurance. This insurance guarantees that should an employee be injured at their place of work, during their working hours, that they receive the proper medical care and fair monetary compensation for their injury.

Sometimes when an accident occurs, there appears to be obvious negligence on the behalf of one party – either the worker or the employee. Worker’s compensation insurance is important because in order to recover specific expenses, there is no need to establish fault. In other words, this prevents an injured employee from having to prove negligence against their employer who likely has more legal resources than they do. Likewise, it prevents employers from being victim to deceptive tactics that might be used to recover damages.

Worker’s compensation generally covers basic expenses. For instance, worker’s compensation insurance would pay for any medical bills and vocational rehabilitation associated with the injury that occurred at the workplace, as well as weekly compensation and permanent impairment benefits.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

It’s a common misconception that personal injury claims are the same as a worker’s compensation claim. The two are different in both process and potential compensation. To begin, negligence or fault must be established in a personal injury claim and if the case is awarded in your favor, you may also be entitled to additional monetary compensation for pain, suffering and lost earning capacity.

On the surface, it appears that it would work in your advantage to seek a personal injury claim over worker’s compensation, especially if an injury occurred at the negligence of your employer. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.

Can You File a Personal Injury Claim Instead of Worker’s Compensation?

This is a complicated question, but the short answer is no. Worker’s compensation is generally an exclusive remedy to a worker accident. There are some instances where a worker can successfully file a personal injury claim. These include workers in specific industries that aren’t covered by worker’s compensation laws and injuries that occurred when a third party was involved. The bottom line is that each case is different, but in many cases, worker’s compensation is the only option.

Work with an Experienced Lawyer

Since each worker injury claim is different, it’s important to have your case reviewed by a personal injury lawyer who can determine if it’s possible to recover additional damages from your employer. If you’ve been hurt at work, we encourage you to contact King Simmons Attorneys for a consultation.

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